Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Need to get back to this thing: Mean time I thought I would share some personal thoughts.

I became a Christian on December 28, 1968. I even remember the time; it was a few minutes past 8:30 pm. I know that many people in the World think of Christianity as something you are because of where you were born. The reality is something different. Being a Christian is the result of what you believe not who your parents were.

The first twenty years of my life I would characterize myself as having been a theist. That God existed was never a question for me. I had dismissed much of the naturalistic world-view as unworkable. The weakness of naturalism is that science only holds answers (and then only partially) about the world as it exists. It cannot explain existence. The only rational option was for God to exist, but I did not know the God I knew had to be there.

My parents claimed to be Christians and that may be the reason I never really considered the teaching and claims of Jesus Christ. Whatever I may have heard from them or their church was drowned out by the background noise of our home. One of my sisters followed the naturalistic path, which led to some interesting debates, but her reasoning could not resolve the big questions about existence. My other sister went the way of political activism and drugs. Watching from the outside that too showed signs of being self-defeating, so I chose another path.

Cursory investigation of other belief systems left me pretty much on my own and with a very flexible set of values. That is when I encountered a group of Christians who were able to clearly state who Jesus Christ was and what He had done for me. At the time I was serving out my active duty commitment to the Navy and was on weekend liberty. The kids that volunteered at the local Christian Servicemen’s Center invited me out to their place in the country for the day. During the morning we talked about the fact of Jesus’ deity, His dying to remove my sin and His offer of eternal life. They gave me material to read that gave evidence for the resurrection and historical accuracy of the Bible.

All of those things helped, but the one thing that resonated with me was that God loved me. That made sense. I had never been able to accept the idea of a God who would create the universe and not stay involved with His creation. One thing I had learned about creative people is they never ever seem to be satisfied with their work. They are always trying to improve. All the historical evidence stuff was nice, but that God did in fact love His creation and had intervened to preserve it was what caught my attention. That made sense.

So, on a Saturday night in 1968 I embraced the truth of the Gospel. I not only accepted the truth of what Jesus Christ did 2000 years ago in dying for my sin, but I committed my future to Him as the God who wants me to be a part of His family. The aftermath of that decision carries forward to the present.

God, through Jesus Christ, gave me a new perspective on life. I knew that I had discovered, or rather I came to know what God had already intended, the true purpose for life. I knew very little about the Bible having never read much of it. As I read and studied with my new friends I realized just how important true knowledge of God is to life. Within two months of my conversion I determined to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could, so I enrolled in a Bible College. That was a huge surprise to my family and friends back home. They may have been expecting enrollment at a state run corrections facility as a more likely turn of events.

Truthfully, being accepted by a college surprised me. I did not come close to meeting their enrollment requirements. I had finished High School 541st out of 552. I had great SAT scores, but not one of my former HS teachers was going to give me a reference. Fortunately, class B miracles still happen and I was in. As a side note, the Registrar’s office caught the mistake 2 months into my second semester, but decided to let me stay. I found myself on academic probation, but I was in and that is all that mattered. Made the Dean’s list 4 consecutive years. First year was catch up, so I missed that one. That first semester also kept me from graduating with honors, which I missed by .18 points.

I cannot say life has been any easier since I became a believer. That is not one of God’s promises. There have been troubles piled on tragedies for me as there have been for most. What I can say is that life has been different in a way that is good. The Lord has given me courage to face life as it is. The Holy Spirit has applied a gentle, but ever present pressure to seek God’s truth in His Word. He has given me an incentive to apply that truth with the promise of a future worth knowing. Perhaps the most profound thing has been at the experiential level. I have and will continue to know the love of God.

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